Friday, January 16, 2004
IRAQ WON'T BE LEBANON, BUT IT MAY BE BOSNIA. That's the "worst case" outcome foreseen by Ken Pollack. The "best case" is that in five years Iraq will, in fact, be a workable and succesful democratic state. This well-informed and closely considered overview from one of our best Mid-east scholars has just been published in Foreign Affairs.
STOP BEFORE ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE. Immigration "reform" threatens to do great disruption and damage to American society. We agree with John Leo as he examines the troubles that will beset us if the President's new plan becomes enacted policy.
NEOCON: IT'S NOT AN EPITHET. Rather it is an honorable political calling which has been much maligned by those who oppose the war and/or regress easily to "anti-zionist" engrams. Max Boot's important new article, just published in Foreign Policy magazine, is an appropriate antidote.
EUROPEAN ANTI-SEMITISM: HOW BAD IS IT? As a Brit would say: "quite, actually." This report from the Conseil Representif des Institutions Juives de France gives a thorough--and rather dismaying overview.
IS THERE A BLOG IN YOUR COMPANY'S FUTURE? Probably not...and for good, negative reasons. At least, that was what the reporter from the UK Guardian concluded after attending a conference on business and blogging. Thus, for the time being (which may be the long-term) blogging will remain an individual sport, indulgence or fanatic undertaking.
WHY WE SPEAK AND UNDERSTAND BETTER THAN MONKEYS. This study, just reported in New Scientist, may well be the "breakthrough" in the quest for why we are the only truly linguistic species among all of the anthropoid primates.
CONSERVATISM IS DANGEROUS ON CAMPUS--FOR CONSERVATIVES, THAT IS. Left-liberal bias flourishes in the classroom and often in hiring decisions. What is to be done? One proposed answer is the "academic bill of rights." This article from the Christian Science Monitor reviews the the shape of the emerging controversy.
THE LEFT OVER LEFT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON. This report from a harried professor suggests just why the academic bill of rights might be--despite untoward and unanticipated consequences--a pretty good idea.
BOND, JAMES BOND...ON HER MAJESTY'S SERVICE. We used to gobble them up as they appeared. But why? It turns out, according to this fine essay from the London Review of Books, that Fleming was spinning "sado-masochistic fantasies" out of his own bored but turbulent existence. But, as all acknowledge, nobody could do it better.
MIN ESST AZOI VI IN DER HAIM. Translation from the Yiddish: one eats as in the homeland. This story from the New York Times reports on a great effort to keep east-European Jewish cuisine alive.
AND HERE'S HOW YOU DO IT--SO GET IT RIGHT, PLEASE!! These instructions are self-explanatory and if carefully followed will guarantee that you are a competent follower of instructions. Well, anyway, this comes from the current New Yorker.
SCHUMANN'S PIANO QUINTET IN E FLAT MAJOR. This wonderfully melodic work is commonly classified as his most popular foray in chamber music. The performance here by soloists from the Camerata Salzburg is confident and commanding.
Thursday, January 15, 2004
GEORGE WILL PONDERS IRAQ...and his ponderings are always worth some attention--though we have the feeling that he didn't quite know what he thought on this one until he was able to see what he had just written.
THE VIEW FROM INSIDE AL QAEDA. This startling and valuable article comes from the new issue of Foreign Affairs. It is essential reading.
IS THIS THE POST-DEAN SPECTRE MOST FEARED BY THE WHITE HOUSE? Richard Cohen, in today's Washington Post, sees Clark rising in a way that would threaten Bush more than does the pugnacious Governor, Doctor Dean.
THIS BOOK WILL GENERATE SOME (UH) DISCUSSION. Richard Perle was on our program a few nights ago discussing his new book. Here is his co-author discussing Kakutani's rage about the book. It is obviously just the beginning of a "vigorous debate."
AND AFTER TEXAS AND MASSACHUSSETTS, HOW ABOUT POLYGAMY RESTORED IN UTAH? Jeff Jacoby, writing in the Boston Globe today, spots a possibly "dysfunctional" implication in recent judicial decisions on the nature of marriage.
IF CAPS COMES CAN BIG BROTHER BE FAR BEHIND? The new total-identification system for passengers at airports could spread out like the eggplant that ate Chicago. The result, says this editor at Reason magazine, might be the death of privacy...and then again, maybe not.
MORE TROUBLE AT THE TIMES. This brouhaha is occuring off (way off!) 43rd Street. You can't tell the players without this scorecard provided by the New York Observer today.
WAS HE THE MOST IMPORTANT SOCIAL THINKER OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY? Milton Friedman seems to think so--and so does Virginia Postrel (a recent guest on our program) as she makes the case for Friedrich Hayek in this fine essay that has just appeared in the Boston Globe.
WE'VE GOT TO SEE THIS FILM! Twice, we had Robert J. McNamara on our radio program. And twice we found ourselves, amused and confused that a man who had held and used so much power could keep mumbling that he and his colleagues had been "misinformed" about Vietnam. Now, a film aspires to dispel the fog of war in the minds of the "best and the brightest."
DECIPHERING GLENN GOULD. The great pianist remains an enigma some twenty years after his death. The key to undestanding him is, says this Canadian reviewer of a new biography, his Canadian-ness! EH?
GLENN GOULD LIVE!! This wonderful site from the Canadian National Library has Gould--in real audio--playing Bach, Strauss and Brahms as he tests pianos in various concert halls. Available here are hours of enchanted listening.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
PROMISE THEM ANYTHING BUT KEEP THE NUKES COMING. That, according to Nick Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, is the game that Dear Leader Kim Jong Il is playing again. Is a "whiff of grapeshot" needed?
BUSH IS VERY WRONG ON IMMIGRATION POLICY...says Tony Blankley of the Washington Times. We fully agree and we think, as well, that Tony has correctly deciphered the true sources--and has correctly predicted the likely consequences--of the new policy.
THE BEST STORY ON DEAN THAT WE HAVE SEEN! It is by an old friend of ours, Roger Simon who, when he worked for the Chicago Sun-Times, was a frequent guest on our program. Now he is once again on the campaign trail and this lead story from the current issue of U.S. News and World Report is up to his always high standard and sprightly, insightful style.
MORE THAN YOU EVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SUICIDE BOMBERS. They are not simply convinced that they are heading to paradise. And some are better educated than their victims. This definitive article from The Economist illuminates the almost unilluminable--and it also examines the available prevention scenarios.
WITH AMBASSADORS LIKE THIS WHO NEEDS CRITICS? Irwin Stelzer, writing in the Weekly Standard, introduces us to three or four "high ranking" U.S. ambassadors who remind us of the old verse: As I was going down the stair/ I met a man who wasn't there/ He wasn't there again today/ I wish that he would go away.
THE UNIVERSE IS ONE QUARTER DARK MATTER! That means we can't see it--and even worse--we don't really know what it is. Nor do we really know anything much about dark energy WHICH MAKES UP MOST OF THE UNIVERSE! In case you hadn't heard about this strange state of affairs, here is an update from The Japan Times.
HOW DO THE POLS GET AWAY WITH IT? AND WHY WON'T JOURNALISTS PRESS THEM FOR REAL ANSWERS? And is it all worse now than it used to be? Trudy Lieberman raises the right questions for journalists who fail to raise--or pursue--the hard questions. This strong article is from the current issue of the Columbia Journalism Review.
BAD WRITERS YE SHALL ALWAYS HAVE WITH YE...but when and how was the assignment passed on to the assistant professors of English (or Portugese) who deal in, gulp, "THEORY?" This on-target article is from Butterflies And Wheels. Don't miss the two linked exammples of classic "bad writing" done in the modern literary "theory" vein.
THE MOST MORBID CULINARY COLUMN OF THE YEAR. This appeared today in the Los Angeles Times. We have often wondered just how those about to be executed can manage any appetite at all. But--go know!!
PURCELL'S INCIDENTAL MUSIC FROM ABDELAZAR. A variant of the "Moor's Pavane" is found here, beautifully performed by the Berlin Baroque Soloists.
Tuesday, January 13, 2004
HOW DID THEY GET THE WMD PICTURE SO WRONG? Kenneth Pollack, one of the best of the intelligence analysts, retraces the story and draws some important lessons. The article is from the new issue of The Atlantic.
A REVIVED SCENARIO FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF ISRAEL. This has always been a fall-back position for Palestinian nationalists. That it is now gaining adherents on the American and European left is as unsurprising as it is dismaying.
IN WHAT WAYS ARE BUSH AND DEAN ALIKE? Just about every way but one says this professorial columnist for the Rocky Mountain News. Much of the argument hangs on the assertion that Boulder, Colorado really belongs in Vermont!
WHEN DOES ADVOCACY BECOME "INCITEMENT?" Wahabism in American prisons is urging thousands to advocate and/or undertake armed assault and suicide missions. Can the law respond--or is it hampered by a misapplication of first amendment guarantees? The issue is competently reviewed in this article from the New York Times.
IT IS NEITHER MEET NOR FITTING...for such ego-wrangles and careerist manipulations to stain Ground Zero. But here, from Fortune magazine, is some insightful reporting explaining this unseemly mess.
CAN USA TODAY BEAT THE TIMES AT THIS GAME? The game being to allow journalistic falsification and lying and then to track and expel the miscreant. Here's the latest as reported by Howie Kurtz in the Washington Post.
RED ROVER, COME OVER...and get rolling across the Martian plain. Here's the latest from Pasadena including the 360 degree photo of the lake bed surface that was released yesterday.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN THE PROMISED MESSIAH DOESN'T APPEAR...or when the predicted end of the world doesn't occur? This fine essay from the Journal of the Sociology of Religion examines a great instance of the problem: the failure of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to manifest himself as the expected Messiah.
THE GREAT COOKIE STILL PONDERS WITH EFFORTLESS GRACE. Who? Alistair Cooke, of course. Here is his most recent weekly essay as resident BBC senior figure in the USA. The topic is brain versus brawn on the American university scene.
THE BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB...was the main source of edification--and literary pleasure--for middle-class Americans in a simpler time. Here, a scholarly study of the BOMC receives a scholarly and, in fact, quite edifying review.
BUT WHO KNOTTED THE JUDGE'S TIE? They have gone about as far as they can go in assigning film credits says the author of this piece from the New York Times. But obviously, he's wrong...within every credit is a more finely focused credit whimpering to be let out.
RICHARD ROGERS: THE LIFE, TIMES AND WORTH OF A GREAT MUSIC MAN. This fine appreciation--richly informed with biographic detail--has just appeared in City Journal. The author, Stefan Kanfer, has guested on our program more than once.
HE WAS GREAT FROM THE BEGINNING. Here's early Benny Goodman with some great colleagues (Bud Freeman,Tommy Dorsey, Jimmy McPartland) in recording sessions done in 1928 and 1929 in Chicago.
Monday, January 12, 2004
PERLE AND FRUM ON THE HARD-LINE/SOFT- LINE DIVISION IN THE PRESIDENT'S CIRCLE. Richard Perle has been one of the main influences in shaping the Iraq policy. Here he defends the realistic utility of the "hard-line" approach. He will be our guest tomorrow night on Extension 720 for a full, two-hour discussion. You can listen to the program from 9 to 11 p.m. central time.
BEYOND THE BANNED VEILS IN FRANCE LIES THE QUESTION OF ISLAM'S ASSILIMILATION. A confrontation that will be enacted in Spain, Italy and, ultimately, in the United Kingdom and Germany is coming soon in France. This article from the current Weekly Standard prefigures the "clash of civilizations" that may be the next chapter in European history.
BEING THERE (IN IRAQ!) MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE...according to Bill Safire. As he argues in today's New York Times column, the recent developments from Syria, Libya, Afghanistan and Iran can be directly traced to our Iraqi initiative. To our mind, he makes a quite persuasive case.
SYRIA IS SIGNALLING (AMBIVALENTLY, OF COURSE) THAT IT MIGHT WANT TO "TALK." Should Israel encourage new negotiations? A conservative voice from Israel says a strong "NO" and gives the reasons why. The article is from the current issue of the American Spectator.
LEGALIZING THE "ILLEGALS." Most of us are opposed; but Carol Mosley Braun and George W. Bush want to help the ten million settle in. Why? And at what cost to our national security and to our national honesty? Mark Steyn calls it like it is in this strong column published yesterday in the Chicago Sun-Times.
KRAMER AND KHALIDI. They are both middle-east scholars; the former was once once a visiting staff member in the latter's research institute (at the University of Chicago) and one of them has legitimate reason to condemn the other. This is an entry from Martin Kramer's Sandstorm blog.
AND AFTER GLOBAL WARMING, WHAT? The most memorable prediction we have heard in a long time came from a climatologist of great repute who predicted that "in about 5000 years Chicago may be under a mile of ice!"
AMERICAN HISTORIANS AT WORK AND PLAY. This account of the recent annual meeting of the AHA seems to suggest that they are recovering leftists still struggling to get beyond the old engrams.
THE OPINIONS AND CROCHETS OF V.S. NAIPAUL. We talked with him a few years ago in a memorable radio discussion. Now his collected essays--dealing largely with writers and his own travails and joys as a literary craftsman--have just appeared. This appreciative review was published yesterday in the New York Times.
KERMODE TAKES ON THE SHAKESPEARE BIOGRAPHERS. This wise New York Times review/essay by a modern master provides some reflections and judgements on important issues--among them, the identity of the "dark lady of the sonnets." We did a full program with Michael Wood a few weeks ago--and here it is on our audio archive.
AREN'T YOU ASHAMED? If not, you should be according to this unmincing and directly judgemental article from Psychology Today. What appeals is that we have here a psychologist who, apparently, won't let you off the hook by providing the usual psychobabbelish cop out.
THE ART OF DECONSTRUCTION. We came upon this a little late--it was published ten years ago! But it does seem to get the deconstructionist caper just about right. Here's how you--or anyone--can do it and, perhaps, get an appointment at Duke or at least a bylined article in Critical Theory.
BY THEIR SITCOMS SHALL YE KNOW THEM. Britain's ten "favourite" sitcoms of all time convey the sense that, "in point of fect" they "acshully ah" a different culture. Many links may be profitably pursued on this BBC site.